Margot Merrill on modern parenthood and the writing life

28Dec/104

My First Novel (gag)

My Little Pony My First Novel

I feel shy about it. "My novel," I'd say as an awkward pubescent might say "my private parts." I labored over my love-story-gone-wrong for years. I grew it paragraphy by paragraph. I wrote and re-wrote. I cried and got stuck and fought my way onward. I kept writing, and I finished it. Yes, that I can say with relief: I did finish a novel. And it's not bad. But I'd let it go, and given up on "being discovered" completely randomly. I wasn't working on it. I've had some other things on my mind.

But today my friend Cindy mentioned she'd read the parts of my novel on this blog, and she wanted to know what will happen with Brody and Cherise. I pulled out a manuscript for her. It's the light-blue-covered, bound bastard of a manuscript I had printed at crazy hell hole Kinkos more than two years ago. I don't want to recount the steps it took to get those few copies. I'd buried them in a mental and physical closet after I didn't hear back from the one agent who expressed interest way back when. But, because this good friend asked about the book (thank you Cindy!) I pulled it out. A copy of my novel is sitting, quite cleanly and beautifully, on our dining room table. Of course, I can't really open it.

If I read it I might break apart into a billion pieces. It might be terrible and boring and dumb. It has typos. It will kill me to revisit it yet again.

Why so much emotional drama related to a big bundle of words? I guess I need to clarify: I will be a novelist when I grow up. It's a dream, and what I think I should be doing. I don't know how I'll get there; how I'll ever have the time and space to do it again. But my life will be spent writing stories. Deciding to write that book, starting at age 30, was my first step in commiting to seeing that dream through despite my fear of failure. Whenever people have said that my first novel might not be "the one," I wanted to kill them. Because who would want to keep working on something that might NOT be the one? In the darkest of times I still had to believe it could be a story worth telling.

Maybe it is interesting, or "good." (Though God knows how I'll define that, or how I'll know when I've achieved it.) Maybe it isn't. But it's somethin' as my dad would say.

So here's my big plan: I'm going to publish it serially, online. It'll all written of course, I just need to queue it up and edit down as I go. And hope that people might be interested in a bit of fiction now and then. I have to ignore the fact that my designer friend didn't have time to fancify the site I'm working on for it> I'll just appreciate the conversations she and I had about it, and use a standard WordPress template. At some point I'll also cram my Word doc into a book format to publish it myself, to allow people to buy a paperback if they're interested. All 3 of you people, please do! ;)

The story is done, it just needs to be shared. I so hope you'll read it. More to come,

Margot

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